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Ode to Summer With Wine and OpenSuse

Ode to Summer With Wine and OpenSuse

The rapid-fire releases of Wine 1.0 and OpenSuse 11.0 were cause for much elation and -- of course -- discussion within the FOSS community. Linux lovers were pleased that Wine finally is seeing the light of day after 15 years in development, though some wondered whether it's too late to do any good.

By Katherine Noyes
06/23/08 4:00 AM PT

Well, summer has officially arrived, and what better way to celebrate than by enjoying some fine Wine?

Yes, for those who stopped paying attention over the last 15 or so years, Wine 1.0 is here! Time to get those Windows apps running on Linux at last!

The excitement could be felt all across the Linux blogs -- particularly on Slashdot, where more than 600 comments had appeared by Friday.

Congrats in Order

"There is a congrats to the Wine peeps in order," wrote TheNetAvenger. "Even if Wine translation doesn't last forever, it is meeting a lot of people's needs now."

Indeed, whether the release is too late to make a big impact seems to be a highly debatable question. In all the time it took for Wine to be developed, desktop virtualization took off, offering an alternative -- albeit more costly -- solution, Raven Zachary, senior analyst and open source practice head with the 451 Group, told LinuxInsider.

"Before that took off, it seemed like Wine would be the solution," he said. Now, however, it's not so clear.

Late to the Game?

"Wine may be a little late to the game," agreed TheNetAvenger. "Virtualization will give us all the features we once needed Wine for if done properly."

Another problem with Wine, TheNetAvenger added, "is the evolution of the Win32/64 API, and how it is slowly being replaced. Vista API technologies are not even on the radar, and have the potential to shake up the next generation of application development."

Along similar lines: "I think as a long-term strategy, Wine is a non-starter," Gerhard Mack, a Montreal-based consultant and Slashdot blogger, agreed.

Too Many APIs

"Microsoft has so many different APIs that trying to maintain bug-for-bug compatibility with all of them is just more pain than it's worth since all we end up doing is wasting our time trying to reverse-engineer a horrid monstrosity," Mack told LinuxInsider. "Importing Windows bugs into Linux doesn't seem to be such a good move either."

Then, of course, there are the things that didn't get included.

"I find it a little disappointing that they couldn't fix bug #6971," Slashdot blogger Hatta wrote. "That's a vast quantity of games that are unplayable because they won't warp the mouse from one side of the screen to another when it hits the edge."

Out of the Office

Meanwhile, "I do find it a little disappointing that Wine didn't set getting Office 2007 working out of the box as a goal for 1.0, as it really currently just relies upon finishing two DLLs," Slashdot blogger Ash-Fox noted.

On the other hand: "At 99% compatibility for Open Office, it outdoes Microsoft Office's general compatibility with itself," retorted Aphoxema.

Not to mention: "Some would consider not running Office 2007 to be a feature," added Mordok-DestroyerOfWo.

Touche!

OpenSuse Debut

Elsewhere in this week of releases, OpenSuse 11 made its own debut, also to considerable fanfare in the blogosphere.

On the Linux Loop, Thomas Teisberg congratulated OpenSuse on its handling of the release announcement and not getting too bogged down in the technical details of the fixes it includes.

"I am very happy to say that OpenSuse did a great job with their announcement," he wrote. "The technical details are still there, just down a couple of pages. At the beginning is an explanation of the cool new end-user features like Compiz Fusion, complete with screenshots.

"It is true that there are some references in the beginning to GNOME, KDE, and Xfce, but they are fairly well explained and OpenSuse has never really seemed to target the 'average joe' Windows user anyway," Teisberg added. "Overall, I am very happy to see another distro doing their release announcement the right way. Good job OpenSuse!!!"

A New Era?

Kicking off the discussion on Slashdot was mention of a hands-on look at the distro on Linux Format, including how it stands to fare against Ubuntu and Fedora.

"Is this the start of a new era for SUSE?" asked Nate D.

"Probably not," countered morgan_greywolf. "Competition between major distros doesn't really exist, because all features are available for all distros. Neither Ubuntu, nor Fedora nor SuSE specialize in anything in particular, so in the end, there's not much difference between them aside from package management and menu layout."

On the other hand: "Don't underestimate package management -- it is critical," shot back allcar. "It is the main differentiator between distros and it is the key to Ubuntu's current success. It's also one of the main reasons that Linux is so much more stable than Windows."

Speed, and Speed Again

And the voice of first-hand experience: "The installer has gotten a complete overhaul," wrote houghi. "It is fast. Seriously fast. I have been running it since Alpha and am still seriously impressed with the speed they have created. It was one of the focus points and I think they have succeeded.

"As an added bonus or as a disadvantage (depending on how you feel) you can install things with a one-click install (also via CLI) that sorts out the repositories for you and all the rest," houghi added. "Oh, the installer is seriously fast. Really fast."

That said, "it could still be that you don't like it," houghi concluded. "That is why there are different distributions. Just give it a try (install the live version). It is unfair to think that nothing has changed."

Not everyone, however, appears to be convinced, as succinctly put by Anonymous Coward: "I will not use it on my box. I will not use it with a fox."


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